Thursday, June 14, 2012

Tip of the day:
Two of yesterday’s layouts featured the technique of printing onto prepared journaling cards.  The cards I used come as a 12x12 sheet (often double sided) with an assortment of different sized and shaped cards such as the one seen below.  

These have become a very popular product in many scrapbooking lines, and I’ve found them to be very handy to keep on hand for everyday use.  I actually started gathering them to put in my smash book box, a plastic bin I use to keep random things I might want to use in my smash book.  I have the book in the box and everything is ready to go at a moments notice just in case I have a few minutes to spare and want to work on a page in the book.  I thought the journaling tags would be handy to keep in the box for adding texture, contrast, and of course, handwritten journaling.  But I’ve actually found the cards to be quite useful for my everyday scrapbooking as well, and, as I discovered during the LOAD challenge, they don’t even have to match the paper you’re working with!

I like to use a lot of type-written journaling on my pages.  I’m a bit anal-retentive, and like everything to be aligned and spelled properly.  Plus, my handwriting is atrocious, so it’s better to be able to actually read the story than to admire my chicken scratchings.  It’s easy enough to just stick a piece of cardstock into the printer and then cut it to the size I need, but sometimes that’s wasteful, and what if I only have one little piece of paper that’s too small for the printer?  That’s when a little patience comes in, along with a great trick I learned from some random scrapbooker a long, long time ago.

The first step is to measure your piece of paper (or journaling tag) and determine what size margins and text area you need.  I generally leave ¼” to ½” margins all the way around my tag.  In my example from yesterday, the card itself was 2 ¼” by 3 ½” but I needed the journaling to stay within the vanilla colored area and not on the green, so I added another ¾” of margin to both the top and left side.  Microsoft Word already defaulted to 1” margins, so I added the extra that I needed to ensure that there would be space between the edge of the paper and the start of the tag.  I also set the text boundary on the right side to make sure my text didn’t run off the right side of the page.  You can do this with the right indent or with the margin setting.  I needed about 2” to fill the space available from left to right.

Once you have your measurements, you can type up your journaling or title.  Check your spelling and grammar and then pick your fonts.  You can start playing with the size of your text, adjusting until everything fits in the desired space.  Keep a close eye on the bottom of your text to make sure it doesn’t run off the bottom of your tag. 

When you feel like your text will fit on the tag or cardstock the way you want, it’s time to make a test print. Print onto plain paper, not your cardstock or tag, then hold the journaling card up against it (in front or in back, wherever you can best see both the shape of the card and the text). If it’s still hard to see the text through the card, or vice versa, try holding it up to a light or using a light box. Sometimes it might take me 3 or 4 tries to get the text to fit just so.  Just keep playing with your margins and text sizes until you get exactly what you want.  I keep a lot of scrap printer paper around just for this reason, and you can always turn the paper around to use the other end or flip it over to use the back side. 

You’ll also want to make sure that you know which direction the paper feeds into your printer so that you print on the right part when you put your cardstock in.  If you’re not sure, you can mark a small “X” in the top right corner of the next piece of paper to be fed.  Then note where the “X” is when the paper is done printing.  If your paper feeds upside down you will want to remember that when you are putting in your cardstock or tags.  As a general rule for desktop printers, if the paper comes out upside down, then it probably went in right-side up, and vice versa, but test it just to be sure.

Once you are satisfied that the text will indeed fit onto the card where you want, you will need to use some repositionable tape to secure the card to the paper.  Tape it down so that the text is exactly where you want it under the card.  I like to use Scotch brand Removable Tape by 3M.  It is tacky enough to hold just about any card or paper, but it peels off easily without tearing.  Plus, it’s reusable!  I use it and then peel it off and save it again for a later project!  Waste not – want not, I always say!  

Tape your card to the test paper all the way across the top of the tag.  This will keep the tag from popping up or moving while you are printing.  It is not necessary to tape the bottom or sides.  Now just put the taped up paper in the printer and print a second time, making sure you feed the paper the right direction.  Voila!  You should have a neatly printed title or journaling block on a very small scrap of paper.  This technique works on all sizes of paper – as long as you can tape the cardstock to the test print without taping over the text area, it will work! 

I do advise testing this technique on a few scraps of cardstock just to get the hang of it before you try printing on that treasured, one-of-a-kind journaling tag, but other than that, once you’ve figured out how it works, it is pretty much the same every time.  It does take a little patience to figure out exactly what size font and how wide to make your margins, but I’m confident you’ll be using this technique all the time once you figure it out!

That’s all for now.  Look for some more layouts tomorrow, and maybe a Father’s Day card or two!

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